The Edmonton Oilers and Kailer Yamamoto have finally reached a deal.
The team announced on Saturday that their final remaining restricted free agent has agreed to a one-year contract worth $1,175,000.
Y A M O
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) September 18, 2021
The Oilers selected Yamamoto with the No. 22 overall pick in the 2017 draft. He got a nine-game cup of coffee with the team in 2017-18 and was returned to the Spokane Cheifs of the WHl after that. Yamamoto split the 2018-19 season between the NHL and AHL and started the 2019-20 season with the Bakersfield Condors before getting called up for good in late December of that year.
Yamamoto’s showing in 2019-20 was huge for a struggling Oilers team. He came up and formed an elite line with Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, scoring 11 goals and 26 points over 27 games. Based on that, expectations were high for Yamamoto heading into the 2021 season, but he wasn’t able to build on his showing the previous year. Yamamoto played in 52 games and scored just eight goals while recording 21 points.
This is an interesting contract for the Oilers and Yamamoto.
We all knew that given Edmonton’s tight salary cap situation that Yamamoto wouldn’t be inking a long-term deal, but the team was likely hoping to get him signed to a cheap, two-year deal, which would make life easier for them next off-season. Instead, they get a dirt-cheap one-year deal, which is great for 2021-22, but could present a challenge next off-season.
The Oilers will have both Yamamoto and Jesse Puljujarvi hitting restricted free agent status next summer. If both players have big seasons, they might be put into a situation in which they have to choose one or the other.
Regardless, that’s a problem for later. It’s a great thing that Yamamoto is signed and will be ready to roll when training camp begins.